In October, I was informed that Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose: Growing Up On Mount Rushmore was awarded the Silver Medal Honor Eureka Award, given by the California Reading Association for outstanding nonfiction in Children's literature. What an honor.
Then I was informed in November that my book is also a nominee for the 2014 Grand Canyon Readers Award for Nonfiction in Children's Books. School kids in Arizona will now have to read the book and vote for their favorite out of ten nonfiction nominees. I think I already won by having those kids read my book!
Now that my book is published, I get to spend more time in South Dakota. I was invited to attend the fabulous South Dakota Book Festival in Sioux Falls for a week in late September. The festival ran for five days and forty-seven authors presented and signed. Of those, five of us were children's book authors: Sherman Alexie, Gary Schmidt, Lisa Yee, S.D. Nelson and me. Some company!
I had thought that everyone in South Dakota would know the story of Lincoln Borglum that I wrote about in Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose, but I was delighted that few actually did, so I got to tell it. To South Dakotans, Mount Rushmore is like the barbecue in the back yard--it is just there.
I had a blast and hope to be invited back next year when the festival will be held in Deadwood.
my husband Al,
my family, my friends,
my editor Steve Meltzer, the sucess of
Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose,
chocolate cupcakes with white icing,
fine French champagne, sushi,
Maui Jim sunglasses, Mephisto sandals,
being an American,
the SCBWI, my writers' group,
my Big Bertha driver,
our two kitties Toulouse & Monet,
our puppy Honey, gardenias, good health,
Children's publishing is a long waiting game. I was tempted to go the self-published route, but I am so glad I took the traditional publishing way. Not only has Penguin done so much for me by submitting my book for reviews (raves in SLJ, Booklist and Children's Book Council), they have distributed it nationwide. One of the thrilling events for me this year was selling my book at the Summer Conference PAL event, something I could not have done if I had published my book myself. It was so satisfying and fun to be congratulated by all the authors and illustrators who have been with me on this journey for many years.
Here's a picture of me signing in the tent!
One of the thrilling parts of being on Mount Rushmore this summer was that I got to meet the last surviving worker on the monument, 91-year-old Nick Clifford. Nick was a driller and also part of the famous Mount Rushmore baseball team, consisting of the workers. He was tickled that I had written a book about Lincoln Borglum, who he said was a gem of a guy. He felt it was high time someone told Lincoln's story. This is what I love about nonfiction: all the people involved in every amazing story.
I have been attending the SCBWI Summer Conference off and on for 15 years. This year, as usual, turned out to be a blast. The only difference was that for the first time I was attending as a published author!
I decided to take the Nonfiction track and follow the different authors and editors as they gave workshops and tips on nonfiction. Author Mellisa Stewart, editor Bonnie Bader, author Candace Fleming and editor Laura Goodwin gave informative, uplifting workshops on what the markets want and what their houses were looking for. The good news is that nonfiction is the hottest picture book seller due to the common core standards ready to hit 46 states in 2014. I adored being part of the PAL event and of course the big fun for me is always the costume contest. This year the theme was the Hippie Hop. Yuki Yoshino and Greg Trine have been part of my entourage for 7 years. This year we didn't win, but we had so much fun dancing the night away. The Sunday Golden Kite Luncheon was exceptionally uplifting and I was sad to say good bye to many of my friends until next year.
One reason to wait for a traditional publisher rather than self publish is that you get a publicity person to help you with events. I was lucky enough to get Molly Sardella. I met Molly when I was in New York this year. She is bright, funny and always ready to help me set up any event. We all had a good time in my editor Steve Meltzer's office brainstorming ways to promote the book. Here is Molly's Publicity Tip of the Day.
Twelve local children's authors will attend and sign books.
Registration deadline September 24th
For additional details contact Rose Koller at email@example.com or (805) 964-4711 x 5222.
On my summer trip back to Rushmore, I wanted to pay homage to the subject of my Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose, Lincoln Borglum. On the mountain he is always present; the museum is named after Lincoln. But I found a more fitting homage. A wood-planked walkway surrounds the mountain and leads down into Gutzon Borglum's old studio. On the way back up to the Visitor Center, there is a small stone patio with a bust of Gutzon. The bust was carved by Lincoln. This is where I decided to place my book for both father and son. Theirs is an amazing American story and I feel honored to have been the one to tell it.
I write nonfiction books about monuments, so when I attend the SCBWI winter conference I made plans to see the 9/11 memorial. The books I've written about focus on long ago presidents who shaped history. The 9/11 Memorial honors by name over three thousand innocent people killed while going to work, flying home or heading up stairwells to save lives. Being there was a moving experience.
The builders of the memorial used the holes where the twin towers had sat, directing a waterfall into a deep pit. The water first pours out from under ledges engraved with the names of all the people killed on 9/11 at the World Trade Center in 1993. The names are etched in such a way that you can make rubbings of them. I didn't know anyone personally who had perished but I made it a point to run my hands over each and every name, and I said prayers for the loved one who were left behind.
Reflect today on the strength of our country and the resilience of its people.
COURY, Tina Nichols. Hanging off Jefferson’s Nose. illus. by Sally Wern Comport. 40p. bibliog. CIP. Dial. 2012. RTE $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3731-0. LC 2011029968.
What would it be like to be the son of the man who was the sculptor of Mount Rushmore? Lincoln Borglum was only 12 when his father took the commission. As he grew up, he learned about every aspect of the project, and eventually, at age 26, became the superintendent under his father. When Ghutzon Borglum died suddenly from complications of surgery, Lincoln was ready to step in and bring the project to a satisfying conclusion. This slightly fictionalized narrative of Borglum’s life is engaging and informative.
While I waited for the publication of my first picture book, I learned how to do book trailers. So far, I have completed three for Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose. This is number one.
One of my Southern Breeze gals, Gail Handler, is having a two-book give away on her blog, and one of the books is mine. I threw in a book bag for Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose to make it sweet for her readers.
Here's the link http://www.writefromthesoulvisualeyes.blogspot.com/
The Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose
Super Blog Tour Master List
Welcome to the one-stop list for all the blogs hosting this incredible BOOK BLOG TOUR, including interviews with Tina Nichols Coury, her editor, agent and illustrator, plus amazing raffle prizes for commenters!
All comment raffles will be open until 10:00 pm (PST) on Tuesday May 15th. Only one comment per Blog Tour stop. The winners will be listed here and the on the hosting blog on Wednesday, May 16th.
Blog Tour schedule:
Monday May 7th - Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose Book Trailer Debut at Darcy Pattison's site http://www.darcypattison.com/authors/hanging-off-jeffersons-nose/
Today's comment raffle prize: One free book trailer from Tina's Trailers. WINNER - MARTHA BENNETT STILES
Tuesday May 8th - Interview with Tina Nichols Coury at Barbara Bietz's blog, Jewish Books for Children with Author Barbara Bietz
Today's comment raffle prize: A Kindle. WINNER - GAIL GAUTHIER
Wednesday May 9th -Interview with Tina's agent Mark McVeigh at Greg Pincus's blog, gottabook.blogspot.com
Today's comment raffle prize: a 15 minute phone critique on 10 pages of a manuscript with Mark McVeigh. WINNER CSTWMAXE (NO EMAIL? CONTACT ME.)
Thursday May 10th - Interview with Illustrator Sally Wern Comport at Elizabeth Dulemba's Blog, dulemba.blogspot.com
Today's comment raffle prize: a Nook and a piece of original art from Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose.WINNER - MAGGIE SWANSON
Friday May 11th - Joint interview with Dutton Editor Steve Meltzer and Tina at Cynsations, Cynthia Leitich Smith's blog, cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com
Today's comment raffle prize: Five first-page critiques by Steve Meltzer. WINNERS: SUSAN BERK KOCH, KELLY ANDREWS, JOANNE COOKE, ROSIE POVA, CATHY MEALEY.
I am loving this published author thing. Dutton/Dial has had my book for seven years and now I get to enjoy the release. Here's a brief quote from the Booklist review from Daniel Krauss...okay, I am squealing!
"...the step-by-step (it was a long process) descriptions of planning and dynamiting are fascinating, and Comport’s realistic illustrations of the various bridges and slings built all along the famous sculptures are eye-opening and reveal the project’s dizzying scope. Perfect for history units, this is a great piece of work about a great piece of work."
As it is for most kids, Halloween was one of my favorite holidays when I was growing up. Dressing up, getting free candy and carving pumpkins... What could be better than that? All I needed was a pair of good shoes to cover the miles. I only stopped between houses to gobble up a few choice goodies. I still love to put on a costume and go trick-or-treating with the kids. And I still gobble up my favorite candy all night long.
I have been lucky enough to travel and see some truly remarkable places. Venice, Italy is one such place. I have been there several times, and I am always struck by its Disney-esque quality. The picture here is a giant wall painting I did of a view from Saint Mark's Square. It was featured in an art show but I didn't have the heart to sell it. Now and forever it hangs in my home.
For the past seven years I have fed my inner ham by dressing up for my one performance art act of the year, at the SCBWI Summer Conference. The theme this year was vague: "40 Winks." Most people will probably show up in their pj's, but I wanted to do something from children's literature. And who doesn't love the Tooth Fairy, who exchanges teeth for coins in the dark of night when kids are catching their forty winks? I look forward to the conference and all its opportunities for networking, workshops and revisiting old friendships. In these distressing times, a writing conference is solice for my creative soul.
Kenji's Light of Hope art sale, a fundraiser will benefit The Igari Music Therapy Research Center (MTRC) in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. The art sale at http://www.etsy.com/shop/KenjisLightOfHope?ref=pr_shop.
Some of the featured artists and musicians include: Alice Cohen, Phil Franklin, Georg Gatsas, Sam Henderson, Tim Hensley, Nigey Lennon, Naoki Mitsuse, Richard Sala, and Christine Shields.
When Mark McVeigh, then an editor at Dutton, aquired HANGING OFF JEFFERSON'S NOSE: GROWING UP ON MOUNT RUSHMORE at my regional SCBWI Writer's Day in 2005, little did I know the journey I'd begun! The last six years have been amazing.
Between now and then I've become a kidlit blogger, acquired a new editor (the wonderful Steve Meltzer), written an article on Blog Tours and Book Trailers for CWIM 2010, been a faculty member at the SCBWI summer conference and acquired an agent, the inspiring Mark McVeigh. Yes, the same Mark McVeigh who first saw the promise in my manuscript and bought it!
My nonfiction picture book about Lincoln Borglum, the son of Mount Rushmore sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, started at Dutton but is now at Dial after a reorganization of the two houses. Dutton handles YA and middle grade novels and all picture books go to Dial. Here's a sketch of the cover by illustrator Sally Wern Comport. And after six long years I finally have a release date! I can't wait to find out where else this journey will take me by the time May 2012 rolls around.
At the summer conference I worked hard to make my presentation interesting to the group. So I produced a five minute video, starring me, about a scribe's journey to the SCBWI Summer Conference. I played it at the beginning of the workshop to show that "I've been in your shoes, too!"
Here's the Scribe's Magical Journey...
This year I have many reasons to be thankful. I am blessed with a supportive family, wonderful friends and an adoring husband. Happy holidays to all, and enjoy our virtual youtube holiday card.
I am so pleased to announce that I signed today with agent Mark McVeigh of THE McVEIGH AGENCY. Mark was the editor who acquired my picture book about Mount Rushmore at an SCBWI Writer's Day in 2005. After he left Dutton we kept in touch, and I was not surprised when he branched out and started an agency. I am thrilled to be part of his prestigious list of clients and I look forward to many years of working together.
What's the number one place for doggies to vacation? Carmel, California. This is the most dog friendly, pooch happy, puppy loving town. Dogs are allowed everywhere, including restaurants, hotels and stores.
There is a gorgeous, off - leash, two mile dog beach that overlooks Pebble Beach golf course. We like to stay at Doris Day's hotel, the Cypress Inn. Star loves the soft dog bed in the rooms.
October is Breast Cancer awareness month. Every year I play in and support Rally for a Cure. A charity golf tournament for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation. Here I am pictured with my golfing partners, Leandra Matter, Dee Levy and Diane McCrossen. Congratulations to the tournament chairpersons, Leslie Fair, Diane Perez, Dee Fairbanks and Leandra Matter for a job well done. Today they raised well over 42 grand!
A few weeks ago, we were invited to a book signing of May Pang's beautiful new book, Instamatic Karma, photographs of John Lennon. May Pang was John Lennon's girlfriend for the two years that he had split from Yoko. May lived with him in L.A. and spent those years photographing their lives. My husband Al Coury, who ran Capitol Records, had worked with John Lennon during that time. May included a picture of Al with John in the book.
If Flat Stanley ever visited your home you will appreciate my new You Tube effort, The Magical Adventures of Flat Ethan.
An American Icon passed away earlier this year. Singer and songwriter, John Stewart, entertained us for generations. He was part of the Kingston Trio, had a successful solo career, and wrote songs for many other performers. My husband, Al Coury, had worked with him as part of the Trio and during his solo career. We were touched to be invited to the private memorial concert held in his honor. Actors, musicians and artists filled the stage to perform his songs and reminisce about John's remarkable life. The talented John Stewart will be miss by all.
Time to brag. Last week I was in Washington D.C. with my husband, Al Coury, who was given a life time achievement award. Al was in rock-n-roll for 37 years.
He was honored with General John Abazaid at huge banquet with Ambassadors, Congressmen, Senators and other generals. One of my favorite persons was there in attendance. Mr. Ralph Nader. Being pushy me I snapped a photo with him. I reminded Ralph that he did an interview for my children's literature blog. He was polite and said he remembered. It was a thrilling night.
Congrats to my hubby who deserved all the acclaim.
If you live in L.A., or plan to visit this holiday season, be sure to catch the mile long DWP Festival of Lights in Griffith Park that runs until January 1st. A Christmas lights spectacular of all the highlights of Los Angeles. It is so cool. You can ride through in your car or park at the zoo and do it on foot. I recommend a thermos of hot chocolate and good deal of holiday cheer to enjoy this corny, but entertaining sea of lights. The best part? It is free!
One of the coolest places to visit is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Built on historic Cannery Row, this state of the art living museum is a fabulous day for adults and kids alike. With sea otters, kelp forests, giant octopus, jelly art, great white shark , just to name a few of the exhibits. There is sting ray petting zoo, a kids zone, where the tike's can don on fins and flippers to learn about the sea animals and of course feedings show at all the tanks. Located in one of the most breathtaking parts of the world, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is magic.
I have a some amazing relatives that have devoted themselves to charitable work . Some have adopted an Orphanage in Honduras, some, on their vacations have dug wells for 3rd-world villages and one in particular, started a charity that brings small comfort to children in need. Many years ago Susie Finch decided to make blankets for sick kids and the Binky Patrol was born. In honor of National Make-a-Difference day in October the Binky Patrol holds it's 12th annual Bink-A-Thon. A nation- wide event to make as many blankets that they can in one day. I am proud that my cousin Susie agreed to be interviewed for the blog.
When and Why did you start the Binky Patrol?
In 1996 I had a failing business and a failed marriage. I was on the pity pot. In the back of my head I remembered my mom teaching me that when you feel sorry for yourself and it's all muddled up do something for someone else.
I'm one of the crazy people who likes to dress up their dog and go Trick-O-Treating with the kids. Last year I was Captain Pink Sash and the Pirate Dog. You'd be surprised how many costumed dogs we see in the streets that night. I painted a skull and cross bones on the side of Star that didn't come off for 3 months! People were stopping me all the time asking where I had it done. It made me consider starting a temporary tattoo business for dogs.
There are many events in October for Breast Cancer Awareness month. For years I have played in a golf tournament, RALLY FOR THE CURE , sponsored by local golf clubs and Golf for Women magazine that benefited the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
This terrible disease has become a manageable disease due to the generosity of doctors, donors and volunteers. I golf with some remarkable women and survivors. Their hard work and determination made this the most successful tournament ever raising over $34,000.00 in one day!!!
Governor Victor Atiyeh and his lovely wife Dolores have been our dear friends for over 20 years. The Gov, as we like to call him, was two term governor of Oregon from 1979-1987. Beloved by the Oregonians, today they decided to honor him by naming an airport after him. We were delighted to attend the dedication celebration of the
Governor Victor G. Atiyeh International Concourse.
A wonderful party with many dignitaries, Congressmen, Senators, and of course me, the goofy kids author from L.A.
This is Diane Perez, my golfing buddy, team partner and friend. She is a great inspiration to all that know her. Upbeat, giving and determined to make a difference.
Today, Diane and her family gave a memorial tea for the American Cancer Society, in honor of her sister, Sandie Romero, who passed away from cancer earlier this year.
In a world full of calamity and strife it is so easy to feel powerless to help. But Diane reminds me that every effort makes a difference, we can make what we do count and we can change the world.
The American Cancer Society is a great charity. Imagine
what they could do if every American donated 10 bucks!
Today is my anniversary and it reminded me of our honeymoon. My husband, Al, took me to Giverny to see Monet's house and studio. I was blown away. I love the impressionist and found this a spiritual experience and a good omen of our wonderful marriage to come. My husband made major brownie points that he's still cashing in after all these years.
On the left is a photo of a young skinny me on the famous Japanese foot bridge.
She instilled a voracious appetite for reading in her children and a family tradition of passing around a good book.
Mom, thanks for bailing me out when I got in trouble with the nuns. Thanks for buying me that expensive prom dress and for making me take typing in summer school. Happy Birthday Mom, you are the best!